The cow has evolved to become one of the most important symbols of Hindu identity, often synonymous with religious or nationalistic sentiment and pride. The issue of protecting and revering the cow has been the cause of much unrest, violence and vigilantism; this continues to be the case even in the present day. Nowadays the law bans cow-slaughter in a majority of Indian States. A direct result of these anti-slaughter laws is a large population of abandoned, aged or otherwise unproductive cattle housed in cattle-shelters that often face inadequacy of space, infrastructure, skilled labour and lack of financial and veterinarian support. Many members of the Indian community do not necessarily look upon this phenomenon negatively, since they view historical events spanning three millennia of Indian history from the perspective of cow-symbolism.
Recent journal articles and news reports [ 1718 ] support this argument. Agriculture and Rural Development in India. Shelters encourage those relinquishing their companion animals to identify as the former owner, and transition of that ownership to the shelter must be accompanied by payments for future costs. The hindued Constitution contains an Article inserted into the Directive Principles of State Policy, not legally enforceable but recommending that the States frame their own enforceable Vaginas hindues to protect cows from slaughter [ Vaginas hindues161718 ]:. The Mughal invasions of India started in the 11th Century.
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Pranayama , one of the eight limbs of yoga , is intended to manipulate prana.
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The cow has evolved to become one of the most important symbols of Hindu identity, often synonymous with religious or nationalistic sentiment and pride. The issue of protecting and revering the cow has been the cause of much unrest, violence and vigilantism; this continues to be the case even in the present day. Nowadays the law bans cow-slaughter in a majority of Indian States.
A direct result of these anti-slaughter laws is a large population of abandoned, aged or otherwise unproductive cattle housed in cattle-shelters that often face inadequacy of space, infrastructure, skilled labour and lack of financial and veterinarian support. Many members of the Indian community do not necessarily look upon this phenomenon negatively, since they view historical events spanning three millennia of Indian history from the perspective of cow-symbolism.
We discuss the moral, social and welfare ramifications of this unique phenomenon of nationwide animal worship and protection, exploring whether such strategies could find application in the Western milk, meat and egg production context. Reverence for the cow has been a centerpiece of Hindu culture, the roots of which can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization around BCE.
The cow has also been used as a symbol of political opposition to external influences and invading powers. Nowhere else in the world has an animal maintained such divine significance into modern day. This literature review explores the interplay of complex cultural, religious, social and political factors that led to the phenomenon of the sacred cow, a ban on its slaughter and the advent of the modern gaushala.
The review also discusses the moral implications of preservation of animal life past their commercial use, the impact on their welfare and need for objectively assessing whether there is a place for such strategies in other animal industries worldwide. Beginning about years BCE, warriors from the central steppe region of Asia invaded India, bringing with them their habits of expropriating cattle from villages that they plundered. Cattle became in scarce supply as food producers [ 1 ], and through a complex interplay of cultural and socio-economic factors, reverence for the cow became a centerpiece of Hindu culture; the roots of this reverence can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilization around BCE [ 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ].
By BCE a ritualistic and sacrificial role for cattle was evident in the Vedic literature. In later centuries, the divine symbol of the cow came to be used as a symbol of Indian national identity for rallying against external invading powers [ 2 , 4 , 6 , 7 ]. Because of their sanctity in the Hindu religion, they are not usually slaughtered for meat, but are used for production of milk, milk products and faeces.
The Indian political, religious and cultural landscape is still dominated by cow worship in many forms. Cow-dung, urine, milk, milk products [ 9 , 10 ] and even dust from cow-prints [ 3 , 6 ] are venerated.
Mainstream Indians maintain a strong repulsion to beef and widely celebrate cow-centric festivals such as Govardhan Puja and Gopashtami [ 3 , 6 , 9 ]. Nowhere else in the world has an animal maintained such consistence and deep-rooted divine significance into modern day [ 9 ]. This review explores the interplay of cultural, religious, social and political factors that led to the phenomenon of the sacred cow, the ban on its slaughter and the advent of the modern gaushala.
It further discusses the morality, welfare impact and socio-economic importance of gaushalas in India as well as animal protection in the wider context of animal industries throughout the world.
About two million years ago the first members of a new genus of grazing animal, Bos, began to appear in northern India and established themselves as wild cattle or aurochs in India and central East Asia.
About half a million years ago in the Pleistocene period a distinct subtype of Bos cattle developed in the Indian subcontinent after the Ice ages—the humped Bos primigenius namadicus.
This was the forebear of the modern zebu cattle, which came to predominate in the Indian subcontinent and became known as Bos indicus [ 1 ]. The oldest evidence of cattle assuming any kind of symbolic role can be traced back to the temples and friezes of the Mesopotamian Civilization, which is thought to have influenced the Harappan Civilization of the Indus Valley [ 2 , 3 , 5 , 11 ]. Centuries later, as the agricultural Harappan Civilization declined and fragmented, the pastoral Aryans descended from the northwest.
By BCE the Aryans had composed and written the Vedas, a large body of literature that is considered the original sacred scripture of modern day Hinduism [ 2 , 3 ]. Vedic writings demonstrate not only pastoral and economic importance of cattle but in equal measure the ritualistic and sacrificial role of the animal [ 3 , 5 , 6 , 9 ]. By the end of the Vedic period — BCE , the metaphoric, literary and figurative cow of the Indus Valley and early Vedic times had transformed into a literal object of sanctity, to be protected and revered in its own right [ 2 , 3 , 4 ].
Subsequent treatises, like the Upanishads, elaborated on the old Vedic teachings. Simultaneously, emerging sects like Jainism and Buddhism added to the general concept of inviolability of animals including the cow , by introducing the philosophy of ahimsa non-violence , karma and the possibility of human re-incarnation as animals and vice versa [ 2 , 3 , 4 ].
Even traditional Hinduism started incorporating and legitimizing the concepts of ahimsa and compassion by applying it specifically to the cow [ 3 ]. Animal-shelters panjarapoles and cow-homes gaushalas emerged all over the country to provide official religious sanction to the protection of cattle and increasing restrictions on their slaughter. The Jains to this day have ahimsa at the very core of their philosophy: espousing practices like vegetarianism, avoidance of consumption of root vegetables and shunning agricultural practices that necessitate destruction of pests [ 3 ].
The Mughal invasions of India started in the 11th Century. The cow, already a centerpiece of Hindu philosophy, became a rallying point between the invading beef-eating culture and native communities [ 2 , 3 , 9 , 11 , 12 ].
Muslim kings like Babar and Akbar in the 14th Century passed edicts forbidding cow slaughter in an effort to promote good will and reconciliation with native populations [ 2 , 9 ].
Other leaders like Aurangzeb slaughtered cows as a deliberate symbol of disregard and subjugation of Hindu populations [ 9 ]. The Maratha King Shivaji — was the first campaigner of cow protection by using the cow as a political symbol to unite the Hindus against the Muslim invaders [ 9 ].
Nationalistic sentiment continued to grow during the two hundred years of the British Raj [ 2 , 12 ]. The first large-scale revolt against the Raj in was in part due to a rumor that the British used tallow from beef to grease cartridges used by Hindu soldiers in their rifles [ 10 , 13 ].
Then, in the first nation-wide cow-protection movement was started by a renowned religious leader of the time, Swami Dayanand Saraswati [ 4 , 14 ]. Many other Hindu-centric movements followed, one of which was the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, which started in and still retains right-winged cow-centric political discourse [ 6 ].
The foremost leader of the Indian struggle for independence, Mahatma Gandhi founded his own cow-protection agencies based on compassion and welfare [ 4 ]. As a reaction to these emotionally charged cow-protection movements, the British government passed the first Indian animal cruelty legislation to shift the focus from a nationalistic and religious emphasis to a more scientific and economic perspective of the cow.
Commissions were appointed and cattle husbandry was promoted on scientific lines through the establishment of research institutes and dissemination of knowledge about model cattle farms [ 4 ]. The gaushalas had a mainly Hindu association and the panjarapole a Jain association.
Their exponential growth during the time of the British Raj probably derived from growing nationalistic sentiment antagonistic to British occupation [ 2 ]. The most popular of all Hindu Gods, Krishna, has been widely loved, cherished, painted and sung of in his role as a protector of cows—a cow herder living amongst pastoral villagers [ 2 , 3 ].
In recent centuries, the largest cult dedicated to Krishna-devotion was founded and promoted by the philosopher Vallabhacharya in the western regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan—an area that even today contains the largest number of vegetarians, cow-worshippers and gaushalas in India. It was against a backdrop of strong nationalistic feelings mingled with religiously charged sentiments that India gained independence as a secular country in [ 5 , 6 , 15 ].
From records of its deliberations [ 5 , 7 ], it is evident that the issue of legally banning cow slaughter was fraught with religious and emotional sensitivities. Staunch Hindus argued that cow slaughter went against the very core of their religion, while Muslims argued that any ban on cow slaughter infringed on their right to earn a livelihood as butchers, leather-makers, tanners and slaughter-men.
A third secular faction argued that a secular Constitution should not contain prejudices or sanctions for specific religious beliefs [ 5 ]. So charged was the atmosphere that riots broke out intermittently all over the country during these deliberations [ 6 ]. The final Constitution contains an Article inserted into the Directive Principles of State Policy, not legally enforceable but recommending that the States frame their own enforceable laws to protect cows from slaughter [ 7 , 16 , 17 , 18 ]:.
Gradually State laws came into effect all over the country and several prosecutions followed, mainly against cattle buyers and sellers, hide merchants, butchers and other such stakeholders in the cattle industry [ 5 , 6 , 17 ]. Post-independence India continued to see periodic riots, agitations and even killings in the name of the sacred cow. In , several conservative Hindu political parties such as the aforementioned Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh, sections of the Jain community, the Arya Samaj community, the Bhartiya Jana Sangh and others joined forces to march and form a Committee for Cow-Protection.
It was perhaps the largest demonstration in history to demand a complete nation-wide ban on cow-slaughter. Several people were killed, properties were damaged and agitators were jailed as a result of the march [ 6 ]. Modern day sees ample media reports of vigilantism by self-proclaimed cow protectors, biased court prosecutions and blocking of cattle slaughter and transport licenses [ 5 , 7 , 18 ].
In , self-proclaimed cow protection agencies lynched members of the dalits community, who traditionally hold the job of skinning cattle carcasses [ 17 ].
The year witnessed alleged cattle traders and their families being stripped naked and beaten in public [ 19 , 20 ]. Right-winged Hindutva actions are increasingly backed by constitutional Supreme Court support [ 7 , 17 ]. In summary, there have been years of events contributing to cow-centrism, cow-worship and a complete countrywide legal ban on its slaughter Figure 1.
For the Hindu community, the gaushala is inextricably tied to religion: many are directly associated with temples or religious institutions.
Even those that are not, actively encourage rites, rituals and celebration of cow-centric festivals. Either out of veneration or fear of a backlash from activists, rather than slaughter or sell cattle that are past their productive life or suffering from disease or debilitation, villagers often abandon these animals to the streets. These cattle then remain as stray or get picked up by neighbouring gaushalas rather than being slaughtered [ 6 , 21 , 22 ].
Gaushalas also often see an increased influx of cattle and small ruminants rescued from ritual slaughter during Muslim festivals [ 2 ]. The Report of the National Commission on Cattle [ 23 ] determined that there were three thousand gaushalas in India, maintaining over , cattle, about one seventh of the total Indian cattle population.
However, this may be an underestimate, Khanna [ 24 ] puts the countrywide estimate at around four thousand gaushalas. There is a dearth of comprehensive studies on urban animal health in India [ 21 ] and a true estimate for country-wide numbers of stray cattle or gaushalas is lacking. In the s, when India experienced severe drought and famine, its agricultural economy and the issue of useless cattle competing with humans for scarce resources sparked the interest of several ecologists and anthropologists from around the world [ 3 ].
Harris originally published in [ 25 ] propounded that the inviolability of the cow had a positive economic and social benefit. He explained that the absence of commercial beef enterprises made beef a more accessible source of protein to minority and marginal communities that would otherwise be cut off from expensive commercially available meats. Recent journal articles and news reports [ 17 , 18 ] support this argument.
However, Simoons et al. With one of the highest cattle populations per capita in the world, maintaining inefficient cattle production systems has been particularly difficult in the face of increased human population. The absence of refuse collection in most of India allows cattle to recycle waste foods, but they also consume large quantities of indigestible and potentially toxic materials in their search for food residues.
Many forage for food in exposed garbage dumps, consuming large amounts of plastic bags that contain discarded human food. The complex cow stomach cannot expel these bags, which remain trapped inside, rendering the animal unable to eat and slowly starving to death. Post mortems have revealed up to 40 kg of plastic in the rumen or fore-stomach of stray cattle, where the plastic is trapped [ 25 ]. They are often sold clandestinely so as not to attract the attention of both lay observers as well as law enforcers [ 6 , 15 ] and as a result their transport, lairage and slaughter are driven underground.
The conditions that these animals are kept, transported and handled remains completely unregulated. It is estimated that compared to 3, legal slaughter houses for buffaloes, small ruminants and other commercial animals excluding cattle , there are 32, unlicensed ones [ 17 ] that are quite possibly illegally slaughtering cattle for export or leather.
It is not possible to get official data on this type of clandestine activity, and studies of Bangladeshi abattoirs and livestock markets have found that many of the cattle were legally or illegally exported from India by trek, truck or train [ 26 , 27 ]. One estimate puts the numbers at 1. Many of these animals show severe nose and tail injuries [ 27 ], dehydration and metabolic exhaustion [ 26 ] hyperthermia and death during transport [ 28 ].
Gaushalas often face with an inadequacy of skilled labour, financial constraints and lack of veterinarian support [ 11 , 22 ]. The herds, already a cull by-product of a commercial population often suffer from malnutrition, further compounding pre-existing reproductive disorders like anoestrous, repeat breeding, uterine infection, cervicitis, pre and postpartum vaginal prolapse, retention of placenta, dystocia and mastitis [ 22 ].
Brucellosis, a zoonotic disease, is endemic in Indian cattle populations; conditions of intensive housing and frequent movement of cattle are particularly conducive to the spread of this disease [ 29 ]. A reluctance to cull infected animals means that it is virtually impossible to control or eradicate this disease in Indian herds.
Those that are culled usually enter the gaushalas, but often are not screened for this disease and become a health hazard to both the workers and other cows. Many cattle housing facilities, including commercial dairies have insufficient space, little to no pasture land, poor ventilation and hygiene [ 11 , 21 ]. Although individual gaushalas have been studied for incidences of disease outbreaks [ 30 , 31 ], multidimensional animal welfare assessments on multiple gaushalas have never been carried out.
The literature over the last 50 years regularly documents the social, economic, religious and political aspects of cattle utilization and conservation: numerous studies [ 22 , 24 ], including the Report of the National Commission on Cattle [ 23 ], have advocated using gaushalas as centers for breed improvement, increased productivity and breed conservation.
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Simbología hindú - Universo Hindu
Pranayama , one of the eight limbs of yoga , is intended to manipulate prana. Of these meanings, the concept of "vital air" is used by Bhattacharyya to describe the concept as used in Sanskrit texts dealing with pranayama , the manipulation of the breath.
The ancient concept of prana is described in many Hindu texts, including Upanishads and Vedas. One of the earliest references to prana is from the 3,year-old Chandogya Upanishad , but many other Upanishads use the concept, including the Katha , Mundaka and Prasna Upanishads. The Bhagavadgita 4. Prana is typically divided into constituent parts, particularly when concerned with the human body.
While not all early sources agree on the names or number of these divisions, the most common list from the Mahabharata , the Upanishads, Ayurvedic and Yogic sources includes five classifications, often subdivided. This can be seen in the proto-yogic traditions of the Vratyas among others. The Atharva Veda describes Prana: 'When they had been watered by Prana, the plants spake in concert: 'thou hast, forsooth, prolonged our life, thou hast made us all fragrant.
Similar concepts exist in various cultures, including the Latin anima "breath", "vital force", "animating principle" , Islamic and Sufic ruh , the Greek pneuma , the Chinese qi , the Polynesian mana , the Amerindian orenda , the German od , and the Hebrew ruah. Indian philosophy describes prana flowing in nadis channels , though the details vary.
When the mind is agitated due to our interactions with the world at large, the physical body also follows in its wake. These agitations cause violent fluctuations in the flow of prana in the nadis. Pranayama is one of the eight limbs of yoga and is a practice of specific and often intricate breath control techniques.
The dynamics and laws of Prana were understood through systematic practice of Pranayama to gain mastery over Prana. Many pranayama techniques are designed to cleanse the nadis , allowing for greater movement of prana. Other techniques may be utilized to arrest the breath for samadhi or to bring awareness to specific areas in the practitioner's subtle or physical body.
In Tibetan Buddhism , it is utilized to generate inner heat in the practice of tummo. In Ayurveda and therapeutic yoga, pranayama is utilized for many tasks, including to affect mood and aid in digestion. Mohan stated that the physical goals of pranayama may be to recover from illness or the maintenance of health, while its mental goals are: "to remove mental disturbances and make the mind focused for meditation".
According to the scholar-practitioner of yoga Theos Bernard , the ultimate aim of pranayama is the suspension of breathing, "causing the mind to swoon". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the clothing company, see Prana brand. For the band, see Prana band. Further information: Nadi yoga. Main article: Pranayama. Retrieved India: Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust. Yoga Magazine.
Bihar School of Yoga. Retrieved 31 July Edinburgh University Press, , p. Woodstock, New York: YogaVidya. The Science of Pranayama. BN Publishing. Kindle Locations : Hohm Press. International Journal of Yoga. European Journal of Integrative Medicine. Pranayama, The art and science. Mahayana tantra: an introduction. Penguin Books. Boston: Shambhala Publications. The Essence of Kriya Yoga 1st ed. Alight Publications. Yoga philosophy Bhagavad Gita Yoga Vasistha.
Pranava yoga Nada yoga. Lotus position Roots of Yoga Shinshin-toitsu-do. Yogachara Zazen. Shingon Buddhism Tendai. Book Commons Wikiquote Wikisource texts Category. Categories : Consciousness—matter dualism Energy esotericism Esotericism Hindu philosophical concepts Spirituality Vitalism Yoga concepts.
Horripilation , sweating, stomach pain, bending of limbs, sense of touch. Look up prana in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Wikiquote has quotations related to: Prana.